The arc of the car world bends ever closer to fully electric. And it’s not just the cars anymore. Semi
trucks, typically powered by inline diesel engines, have joined the electric queue.
A partnership between two major players in the trucking industry, BYD and DHL, shows us just how far we’ve come in the
global quest for electrification.
Two giants, swept away by an electric current
In November 2020, shipping giant DHL announced that it had added four battery-electric trucks from BYD to its fleet. These trucks were designed to go all day on a single charge, and they were advertised as a “comfortable and high performance option” for truckers, says
Plus, they were truly efficient: operational costs, according to
BYD, would be reduced by as much as $13,000, thanks to factors like regenerative braking, less complex motors, and fewer fluids to worry about.
And this wasn’t DHL’s first electric rodeo. These battery-electric trucks joined the ranks of several non-gas vehicles, including electric, hybrid-electric, and clean diesel vehicles, says BYD, all part of the firm’s strategy to bring emissions to net zero by 2050. Its addition in 2017 of electric refuse trucks, powered by all-electric propulsion systems, was a significant step in this direction.
So why is the BYD DHL partnership a big deal?
What a BYD DHL partnership forecasts
BYD, originally a maker of batteries and consumer electronics, was founded in 1995 in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. By 2003, the automotive market was benefiting from BYD’s battery expertise—a harbinger of the EV revolution to come.
In 2008, BYD got the attention of investor Warren Buffet, who bought 10% of the firm. The company has since grown to become China’s biggest supplier of electric vehicles, reports
Forbes, and an international force.
Across the Pacific and a few decades earlier, a logistics firm called DHL sprang up. Founded in 1969 in San Francisco, California, it soon outgrew its domestic roots and began delivering parcels internationally as well.
German firm Deutsche Post bought it in the early 2000s, and now DHL is headquartered in Bonn, Germany. it is known for its speedy international shipments, says
Easyship, and this reliability has come with great returns: DHL now has the largest global market share of any courier company, according to
A BYD DHL partnership is the coming together of titans. BYD supplies the largest EV market with its batteries, and DHL ferries most of our stuff around the world.
A commitment to sustainable practices from these two heavyweights could have major effects on other firms’ choices, and in consequence, the environment at large. Just the addition of these battery-electric trucks to the DHL fleet, according to DHL, was expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 300 metric tons per year.
And what if DHL keeps buying what BYD is selling? We don’t even know what number to multiply that by yet—but perhaps we can assume that, with a BYD DHL combo, it’s going to be a big one.
An EV revolution
The BYD DHL partnership was already making its mark on the environment, but DHL upped the ante again in May of 2022, ordering a fleet of 44 Volvo electric trucks, says
Electrek. The shipping company with the biggest share of the international market appears committed to its sustainability goals, to all of our benefit.
And it’s not just an international play—domestic shipping giants UPS and FedEx haven’t been slacking on electrification either. Battery-electric vehicles are a major part of their fleets now, and ever-expanding. Don’t call it a revolution.